New 2003 Data: 625 Terrorism Deaths, Not 307
The annual Patterns report is intended to be the definitive U.S. survey of terrorist attacks and the people behind them. Although compiled by State, the statistics were produced by the CIA until last year, when Bush created the TTIC.
Bush intended the TTIC to bridge intelligence gaps by blending the CIA's overseas intelligence with the FBI's information about domestic threats. It is a stand-alone agency but based at the CIA; the office had a staff of 124 in April.
Brennan, for years a senior aide to CIA Director George J. Tenet, cited confusion as the task was shifted to the TTIC. He pointed to an "exceptionally antiquated database." A key supervisor departed in December and was not replaced, he said. Private contractors rotated in and out.
Brennan also cited "inattention." Information was wrongly entered into computers. No attacks that occurred after Nov. 11, 2003, were included, and neither the CIA nor the State Department noticed. That meant omitting four bombings in Turkey that killed 61 people and an assault in Saudi Arabia that left 17 dead and 122 wounded.
Figures produced by the TTIC were sent to the CIA, which forwarded them to State, Brennan said. A CIA representative said that the agency "played no role in vetting the numbers from this database" and that "TTIC took over the database in 2003."
J. Cofer Black, the State Department's top terrorism official, said the faults "were honest mistakes and certainly not deliberate deceptions as some have speculated." He said staffers who erred are "very hard-working, well-intentioned people who do make mistakes." State Department staff members also failed to catch the mistakes.
The revised numbers show there were 3,646 people injured, not 1,593 as first reported. There were 175 "significant" incidents, five more than first reported, and 208 incidents of all types, not 190.
Powell said the figures "were off, but they were not off by wild amounts." He noted that 100 fewer people died in terrorist attacks in 2003 than in 2002. As for Armitage's widely reported comment, Powell said his deputy "reflected the report as he received it."
Bush and top aides have blamed terrorists for deadly attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, but few of those assaults were included in the total. The administration does not count attacks aimed at on-duty troops because they are combatants.
Staff writers John Mintz and R. Jeffrey Smith contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company